Voting Labour risks congestion charges for workers and tourists

The Welsh Conservatives are calling on ministers in Cardiff Bay to rule out making regulations that would allow Labour councils to pursue plans to push forward with economically illiterate and anti-worker taxes.

A Welsh Conservative motion recently put before Cardiff Council saw Labour refuse to vote against introducing a congestion charge in the capital city. It was prompted by a proposal from 2020 that would have seen a charge of £2 or £3 a day levied on anyone driving into Cardiff, excluding residents.

This was, rightly, considered to be a tax on those from neighbouring Valley regions who commute to Cardiff for work or for access to public and commercial services.

Now, fears have re-arisen over Labour’s inability to rule of the spectre of a charge on those who enter the capital as it jeopardises employment and recruitment, as a barrier is put up between employers and employees.

This is in addition to businesses that rely on workers and tourists coming into the city, all at a time when the cost-of-living is on the increase, driven by inflation and energy price hikes as a result of global demand and the war in Ukraine.

Vaughan Gething, Economy Minister and the MS for Cardiff South & Penarth, confirmed in a letter to Welsh Conservative leader – and South Wales Central MS – Andrew RT Davies that:

“Before a local charging scheme can proceed, it is necessary for detailed regulations to be made by the Welsh Ministers under the Transport Act. This would include an assessment of impacts and unintended consequences, including impact on businesses. In addition, Cardiff Council would need to undertake consultation, including with businesses, on the introduction of any Road User Charging scheme.”

This has led to the Shadow Minister for Transport calling for the ministers to rule out making regulations that would allow reckless councils to bring forth such schemes.

The Welsh Conservatives are warning that Labour’s implicit threat to impose a levy in the city could mean the scheme happening elsewhere Labour are victorious, adding the dreaded tourism tax is another sign that Labour are happy to use taxes without any idea how they drive people away.

The Labour Government in Cardiff Bay is planning to give councils the power to introduce a tax on overnight visitors to Wales, something the Welsh Conservatives in the Senedd are opposing vociferously as it will undermine businesses that depend on the tourism sector for survival.

Commenting, Welsh Conservative and Shadow Transport Minister Natasha Asghar MS said:

“People should be aware the Labour that trigger-happy when it comes to deploying taxes without any idea or concern about how it will affect areas that implement them.

“In the Labour Government – alongside their chums in Plaid Cymru – we see people who want an economically illiterate tourism tax that punishes hard-working rural communities, and now we see Labour councils determined to hike the bills of commuters.

“I welcome schemes that improve public transport conditions and provisions, but I do not understand Labour’s compulsion to demonise drivers when it remains the best choice for them.”

Andrew RT Davies – Member of the Senedd for South Wales Central – added:

“A congestion charge in Cardiff would harm those who have to commute into the city. It would also drive away those who visit the city and who put money into the local economy.

"People across Wales and the world are feeling the global cost of living pressures. Welsh Conservative councils will allow people to keep more money in their pockets by keeping council tax low and by ruling out ever introducing congestion charges."

Senedd News
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